Monday, April 8, 2013

ESPN National Championship Headline Loaded With Irony

It is not often that my mid-day scan of the internet ends up with me almost rolling on the floor laughing, but today was just one of those days.  I innocently flipped to and, behold, one of the most fantastic headlines that could ever be produced in college sports: "FRUITS OF THEIR LABOR."

It really is a gem, isn't it?  The best part about it is that it features two unpaid college athletes right alongside of their respective coaches.  Yes, both coaches have multi-million dollar annual salaries.  Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has a base salary of $3.9 million and Michigan head coach John Beilein has a base salary of $1.75 million.  

The two players - Lousiville's Russ Smith and Michigan's Trey Burke - receive exactly zero dollars combined.  Actually, if they were to receive dollars, they would not be able to play in tonight's National Championship game.  

It is a script that we hear on a near daily basis these days, especially with Louisville and Adidas attempting to egregiously profit off of Kevin Ware's gruesome broken leg last week. The shirts that were to be sold for $24.99 and Ware to receive, again, zero dollars (or cents!) were later pulled amid strong public backlash.

Of course, it is important to remember the myriad of other companies profiting at the expense of the players out on the floor doing the real work tonight.  CBS, the broadcaster of tonight's game, has reportedly brought in $5.2 BILLION of ad revenue over the life of the 2013 NCAA tournament.  The NCAA is receiving $680 million from CBS for the broadcast rights.  

We all know that something needs to change.  The system is unsustainable, and maybe it falls into the players hands to stand up as Sports On Earth's Patrick Hruby suggested in his column this morning.  But when you read headlines like the one this afternoon on, just know how loaded that picture is with irony and know that something needs to change.


Kevin Rossi is a pre-junior Drexel Sport Management major with a minor in Communications. Kevin has worked at Double Eagle Golf where he is now Social Media Coordinator and Comcast-Spectacor as their market research intern. Since joining the SMTSU, Kevin has worked his way up the ladder to Vice President. Currently, Kevin is a staff writer for, and has joined Temple University Athletic Communications for co-op.  Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

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1 comment:

  1. I have nothing to say but "brilliant". I just can't handle it anymore lol.